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“Farm-to-Fork: A Public History” Created & Designed by Sac State Students

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The California State Railroad Museum & Foundation has announced an all-new exhibit titled “Farm-to-Fork: A Public History,” which is the creation of graduate students of the Capital Campus Public History Program at California State University, Sacramento. The team of dedicated history students conducted the bulk of the research, image search, and approved the design concepts under the direction of California State Railroad Museum Director and Professor, Dr. Ty O. Smith, and Interpretation & Education Manager, Kimberly Whitfield. The curriculum put into action the philosophy that the Museum’s highest calling is to be a laboratory of learning.

The focus of the new exhibit is to relate the multi-faceted story about the critical role the railroad played in transporting the Central Valley’s agricultural bounty to the surrounding region, state and nation. In short, the railroad helped to create the very foundation for the global success known today as farm-to-fork. This new exhibit provides Railroad Museum visitors with the opportunity to gain a more complete understanding about the production and delivery of goods, appreciate the deep history of the people and lives behind the foods we purchase, and learn how railroads played an integral role in that history.

As background, not long after California’s Gold Rush in the 1850s and the completion of the Transcontinental Railroad in 1869, many early Californians turned to farming the fertile Delta. The bounty of high-quality fruit and produce grown locally was loaded into ice-cooled railroad cars. Locomotives then pulled the refrigerated freight cars through the Sierra to eager buyers farther east and beyond. This agricultural success was made possible by opportunity, new technology and hard-working people coming together at the right place at the right time in history.

Available now for public viewing, the “Farm-to Fork: A Public History” exhibit is located in the Museum’s Roundhouse inside and surrounding the popular “reefer” car (also known as the refrigerator car) and will remain on display permanently. Viewing the exhibit is included in Museum admission: $12 for adults; $6 for youths ages 6-17; free for children ages 5 and under.

For more information about the exhibit or the California State Railroad Museum or Foundation, please call 916-323-9280 or visit CaliforniaRailroad.museum.

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About the author

Traci Rockefeller Cusack

Traci Rockefeller Cusack

Traci Rockefeller Cusack has 25+ years of media and public relations experience.  Her work experience includes News10 (ABC) as Promotion Manager from 1989-1998 (where she developed and launched “Coats for Kids’ Sake,” a winter coat drive that lasted 20+ years plus coordinated Oprah Winfrey’s first ever visit to Sacramento) and Fleishman-Hillard as Vice President from 1998-2005 (where she led the wildly successful statewide “California Grown” program and also produced the five-minute video that played on the Jumbotron on Opening Day at Pac Bell Park). In 2007, she launched T-Rock Communications and currently handles a wide range of marketing activities for a number of top-notch organizations.

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